Holiday Scene: Patrick Langmaid
Patrick Langmaid is director of Mother Ivey’s Bay Holiday Park near Padstow in Cornwall, owned by his family’s business for over 25 years. Patrick trained as a chartered surveyor, and spent three years working for a property agent in Germany. He then returned to the UK to study for an MBA at Cranfield University, going on to complete a post-graduate marketing diploma before joining Mother Ivey’s. Today he manages the park with the help of his wife Margaret.
How do you see the UK holiday industry at the moment?
These are tremendously exciting times and the industry is, I believe, in very good shape. But the best opportunities are reserved for those who enjoy embracing change – and anyone insisting on just ploughing the same furrow is at risk of being left behind. However, I regret that the punitive taxation system in England does fetter this industry’s ability to market itself more aggressively to overseas markets.
How is the 2015 summer season shaping up?
Many holiday parks experienced a downward trajectory post-2008 which finally bottomed out, at least for Mother Ivey’s, in 2013. The curve is now very definitely up, and bookings for 2015 are racing ahead of 2014, itself a very good year.
What are the main challenges facing the industry?
Some parks in popular seaside areas such as ours are having to adjust to the changing dynamics created by the ban on term-time holidays for children. A more positive challenge, though, is taking advantage of the huge marketing opportunities presented by social media. I also think the hospitality industry as a whole needs to engage more closely with schools and universities to give a more accurate picture of the great career opportunities we provide.
How do you see your business beyond its profit objectives?
We have a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility which manifests itself in a number of way. We are a Living Wage employer, provide accredited training and apprenticeship schemes for staff, believe strongly in environmental sustainability, and are active in the local community. We also invest much time and energy in charity fundraising.
What is the best piece of business advice you have been given and by whom?
Many years ago, my father told me to limit my worrying to those things which I could change and not to waste energy worrying about things that cannot be changed. He gave me the advice when I was struggling with O-levels, but it applies equally to business and to life generally.
Where do you go on holiday?
Almost always within the UK. This year we are going to Rye on the Sussex coast, drawn there by the wonderful scenery in the TV drama Mapp and Lucia which we enjoyed over Christmas. Let’s hope Poldark works its similar magic for Cornwall!